Portland PD won't honor marijuana referendum
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The new ordinance that legalizes marijuana for those 21 and older is now in effect in Maine's largest city. But police say they intend to continue enforcing state laws on marijuana possession.
Police Chief Michael Sauschuck has said state law supersedes local ordinances. David Boyer of the Marijuana Policy Project said the law remains a "major step toward broader marijuana policy reform in Maine."
It remains illegal to smoke pot in public under law, which went into effect Friday.
Maine is one of 16 states that have decriminalized possession of certain amounts of marijuana. That means someone caught possessing less than 2.5 ounces is subject to a civil summons unless the drug is being furnished or packaged for sale or distribution.
WELFARE FRAUD CHARGE
Lewiston woman faces welfare fraud charges
LEWISTON, Maine (AP) - A Lewiston woman has been charged with fraudulently obtaining about $10,000 worth of welfare benefits.
Amina Ege was indicted this week on multiple counts of theft by deception, aggravated forgery and unsworn falsification.
The Sun Journal reports that authorities allege the 41-year-old Ege lied about the fact that she was living with a man who provided her with financial support and of failing to disclose that she had received a worker's compensation settlement.
The result of those omissions, according to the indictment, was Ege receiving more than $10,000 worth of food stamp benefits, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and housing assistance.
She allegedly received benefits over a nine-year period from 2004 through 2013.
Ege has been summoned to appear in court. It's not clear if she has a lawyer.
Maine prison inmate files complaint against state
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A Maine prison inmate has filed notice of a lawsuit against the state and the state prison in Windham because he was pepper-sprayed while restrained and left to suffer for more than 20 minutes.
Paul Schlosser III, serving seven years for robbery, is currently at the prison in Warren, where his attorney says he can obtain better mental health treatment.
In the notice of claim filed Nov. 12, Schlosser's attorney, C. Donald Briggs III, says he represents Schlosser in connection with the June 2012 spraying and asks that the matter be referred to the state's insurance company. The notice is not a lawsuit, but preserves Schlosser's right to sue.
A prisons spokeswoman tells The Portland Press Herald department has changed a number of policies since Schlosser's situation.
NORTH ATLANTIC TRADE
Maine office to focus on North Atlantic trade
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A new office is opening in Maine that will focus on boosting trade efforts in the North Atlantic.
The Maine International Trade Center announced Friday that it will be creating the Maine North Atlantic Development Office.
The group says the new office housed at MITC headquarters in Portland will coordinate business opportunities and plan trade missions to Iceland and Northern Europe next year.
Icelandic shipping company Eimskip signed a 10-year lease on a waterfront freight terminal in Portland in February and has made the city its primary East Coast port of call.
MITC president Janine Cary says the group sees Eimskip's arrival in Maine as a key opportunity to grow develop the state as a distribution hub for Icelandic and Northern European goods.
Police say NH teen missing 2 months contacted mom
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Police say a missing New Hampshire teenager who disappeared nearly two months ago has been in contact with her mother.
The FBI and New Hampshire attorney general's office say 15-year-old Abigail Hernandez wrote her mother a letter postmarked Oct. 23 that was received by her mother Nov. 6.
Police say they have verified the letter is authentic. They are not releasing it.
Law enforcement officials say the letter has given them hope, but fear for her safety.
Abigail was last seen Wednesday, Oct. 9 after leaving Kennett High School in North Conway. Police have said she walked her normal route toward home and sent several texts to a friend between 2:30 and 3 p.m. At first, police said she made it home but they later said that was untrue.
Man NH police say killed woman at hotel may plead
NORTH HAVERHILL, N.H. (AP) - The man New Hampshire prosecutors say stabbed to death a White Mountain School trustee at a Littleton hotel may be prepared to enter a plea.
Rodney Hill of West Danville, Vt., was scheduled to go on trial in February, but court documents now indicate he will enter a plea and be sentenced in February.
Hill was indicted for second-degree murder in the stabbing death of 70-year-old Catherine Houghton of California in the lobby of the Hampton Inn in Littleton in January.
The Caledonian Record reports that Hill is slated to appear in Grafton County Superior Court Feb. 6.
A judge last month found Hill competent to stand trial. His lawyer, Mark Sisti, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
HOME ARMED ROBBERY
NH police investigate armed robbery at Keene home
KEENE, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire police are investigating an armed robbery of an occupied home in Keene.
Police say two people entered a home Thursday night at the Tanglewood Estates and held two residents at gunpoint while they robbed the place.
WMUR-TV reports that police say one of the residents recognized at least one of the robbers.
Police say the robbery appears to be an isolated incident. The investigation is ongoing.
MONT VERNON-POLICE CHIEF
NH man who rescued home invasion girl named chief
MONT VERNON, N.H. (AP) -
The New Hampshire police sergeant who broke down a door to save an 11-year-old home invasion victim of a machete attack that killed her mother has been named chief of the Mont Vernon police department.
Kevin Furlong was a sergeant and first on the scene Oct. 4, 2009 after 11-year-old Jaimie Cates dialed 911.
Furlong looked through the front window and saw the girl soaked in blood. He threw his body repeatedly into the front door of the home until it broke open. He gathered the girl in his arms and she whispered that she thought her mother was dead.
The town's Board of Selectmen Thursday chose Furlong from among 60 applicants to be the town's new chief.
The Nashua Telegraph reports Furlong will be sworn in December 16th.
Vt. police say DNA linked killer to burglary
GUILDHALL, Vt. (AP) - A Vermont man convicted of killing a baby 20 years ago has been charged with burglary after police say DNA linked him to a blood-spattered pamphlet at the crime scene.
Forty-three-year-old Shawn Boyd pleaded not guilty to felony burglary and unlawful mischief in Essex Superior Court Thursday and is being held on $10,000 bail.
Police say Boyd smashed the front door of the Moose Look Cafe in Concord last Christmas Eve last year and stole $7.00 from the cash register.
The Caledonian Record reports prosecutors are charging Boyd as a habitual offender because he has three prior felony convictions, including one for manslaughter.
Police say Boyd also goes by Shawn Ely and was sent to prison in 1998 after being convicted of beating to death a 2-year-old boy.
EMBEZZLEMENT PLEA DEAL
Vt. woman expected to plead in embezzlement
WATERBURY, Vt. (AP) - A 46-year-old Vermont woman is due in court later this month and is expected to enter a plea to charges she embezzled about $120,000 from a Waterbury business and a youth hockey association.
Federal court document say Michelle Rutledge served as the office manager and bookkeeper for Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury for 13 years, until June. She also served as treasurer of the Friends of Harwood Hockey, from 2011 until June.
Rutledge faces up to 20 years in prison. She's due in federal court in Brattleboro on Dec. 30.
Rutledge's attorney - Brooks McArthur - says his client is remorseful and eager to make restitution.
The Barre Times Argus reports that Cold Hollow owner Paul Brown says his employees were "shocked and disappointed" by the charges.
Vt. wind farm opponents make case at Supreme Court
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Opponents of the Lowell wind turbines argue that state officials should not have granted storm water runoff permits to Green Mountain Power's Lowell Mountain project.
Nearly a year after the 21 turbines began spinning, a lawyer for Energize Vermont told justices of the Vermont Supreme Court that the state's Agency of Natural Resources did not follow standard procedures when it issued the runoff permits.
Attorney Nathan Stearns told the court that state officials erred in allowing Green Mountain Power to install level-spreader drainage instead of the traditional 12-hour retention ponds.
A lawyer for Green Mountain Power told the court that state law gives the agency discretion to approve alternative runoff measures.
The Burlington Free Press reports that Energize Vermont wants the permits revoked.
Vt. Gov. Shumlin lowers flags to honor Mandela
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Governor Peter Shumlin has ordered that flags at Vermont facilities be flown at half-staff to honor the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela.
Shumlin issued the order Friday following a Presidential Proclamation.
All U.S., state of Vermont, POW and other flags at state public buildings and grounds will remain at half-staff through sunset on Monday.
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